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The Revelation of and Reaction to the Word of God

by Julius Hovan

Hovans(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

May God bless you today as you have tuned into this gospel broadcast of Words of Life. Maybe it is the first time you have tuned in and God has in his providence brought you to this radio station and to hear this broadcast. And if that be the case, we hope you will stay tuned and that he message will be a blessing to you and that you will become more and more knowledgeable about the Lord Jesus and about the Word of God and about the Christian faith.

I want today to spend time with you in an Old Testament book called the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived in a time when it was very difficult for the nation of Israel. They had broken God’s law. They had fallen away from him. They had fallen into such sin and degradation that God had led them off into captivity. Jeremiah himself, as we will see in this chapter, was sorely abused even by those who were of his own kind. And so we are going to this chapter to see what message God has for us in the day in which we are living.

We have the Bible because God gave it to faithful writers such as Jeremiah. The apostle Peter says these writers were carried along by the Holy Spirit as they wrote the words, that is, they wrote words that are accurate. Forty (40) different writers writing over hundreds and even thousands of years and yet there is one theme throughout the Word of God, the Bible. These faithful writers guided by God’s mind and God’s Spirit have given us the Word of God. And not only has God given it to us, but he has preserved it in spite of all the efforts through the years to destroy it and there are even those who today question it and believe that it is irrelevant.

A well known Atheist said that before he died the Bible would be non existent. He died and the very house in which he lived became a printing house for the Word of God, this book that he said would pass out of existence. That Word still is a best seller, having sold around the world in thousands of translations, multiplied millions of copies.

To set the stage for our man Jeremiah today we must tell you there is a man called Jehoiakim. He is a puppet king. He is not really a very important king and rather a vile fellow to be sure. He sought to destroy not only God’s Word, the written word from Jeremiah, but also to destroy Jeremiah.

And so through the centuries there have been critics in and out of what is called event Christianity, in political circles, in other religions, whatever, who have tried to destroy the Word of God and that has simply not succeeded. The Word stands like that anvil in the blacksmith’s shop. The hammer beats against it. Many hammers are broken, but the anvil stands. And so does the Word of God.

This chapter 36 in Jeremiah, presents this changeless truth about this Word of God and its preservation. Listen to verse two as we see the revelation of the Word of God. Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day. God has been talking to Jeremiah for many, many years. And Jeremiah has written down what God has said. And we notice we have the words here, ‘the words I God have spoken unto you’. Jeremiah, don’t just make something up. Don’t just write your idea. You write down what it is that I have told you through these years. Verse four repeats basically that. ‘Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch, that is he was Jeremiah’s secretary and he wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of Jehovah which he had spoken unto him upon a roll of a book.’

Here, my friends, is the revelation of the Word of God. God spoke. He had something to say to Israel and to Judah and to the other nations of the world and to us today. Here is the revelation. But what is the reaction going to be to the Word of God? I would remind you that this message to Jeremiah comes in a terrible time of peril. The army of Babylon was at the very door of the city of Jerusalem and it was going to take that door down and it was going to destroy that beautiful city and it was going to kill many people and take others to the far country in Babylon as captives. This was a time of great peril. It was a time when there was great sin prominently even in the temple. The prophets that were supposed to be God’s spokespersons, the priests who were supposed to make the sacrifices were not doing as God had instructed them to do. And so it is. The word is given in a time of peril, a time when prominent sin reigned in the temple, but the Word was given persistently by God’s spokesperson, the prophet Jeremiah as well as others.

Three times here the Word is proclaimed. It is set forth. And then the reaction to that Word. The common people, the man on the street as we would say today, maybe that is you, was indifferent to the Word of God. Ho, hum, Jeremiah. We don’t care what God has said. It does not matter to us what he said he is going to do. The common people just ignored him.

The responsible people, those that were the priests, those that were the rulers, those that religious leaders, some few, were brought under conviction, but unfortunately, not everybody. And the king’s reaction is the sad story. The king had an angry rejection of this Word. And he rejected it vociferously. Evidence of the Bible’s inspiration is that it contains within itself the timeless reaction of men who have recorded in their own words.

 

So here is the Revelation of that Word of God. Here is the Reaction to the Word of God and here is the Rejection of the Word of God. Look at verse 23 in this chapter. The king physically destroys the Word. Think about what this king is doing. ‘And it came to pass when Jehuda had read three or four leaves, that is pages of the prophet from Jeremiah, the king cut it up with his knife and put it into the fire in the brazier until all the role was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier.’ It has been so throughout the history of mankind. If I don’t want what the Word of God says, if I don’t like what I hear it saying, then I will just get rid of it. I will destroy that Word. And the king thought by cutting it up, by burning it that he would be rid of it. It is one thing if you tear up the Word of God accidentally, but this was a purposeful event and

they were not afraid. That is, those that witnessed what the king did had no fear because God’s Word had been destroyed. They didn’t tear their garments as a sign of sadness, neither the king nor any of his servants that had heard all these words.

There is physical disregard of the Word of God. You may not even read it or when you hear it you just disregard it, but here is spiritual disregard. We stick our tongue out at God. We have no fear, no respect, no honor, no awe of this one who is our God.

I would say to we who are claiming to be Bible believers, do we have this respect and awe for God that is missing in this verse of Scripture by these people? Are we taking the Word of God for granted. And it might be, God forbid, that there would be some part of it that we would say, “Well, I am just not going to follow that part. I am going to reject that. I don’t believe I need to do this or that as God says.”

Maybe you say that with regard to becoming a Christian I don’t need to repent or I don’t need to come to Jesus or I don’t need to be baptized or whatever it is that God says we ought to do and we pick and choose as we do from the shelves of the grocery store. You are putting yourself in jeopardy if you disdain the Word of God. This king did and those that were there with him. Here is the physical disregard for the Word. Here is the spiritual disregard for the Word. But, look what they did to the messenger in verse 26. ‘And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son and Seraiah, the son of Azriel and Shelemiah, the son of Abdeel. You take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet.’ But we read in this verse that God hid them.

Here was the desire to destroy the messenger of God. If they couldn’t get rid of the message, they would get rid of the messenger. At times we are unsuccessful as messengers though we have tried through the years to share the Word. How many times some have preached in mission fields for years without one convert, but they have been faithful to proclaim the Word. Finally the Spirit brings about that conviction.

But now an interesting thing happens and I would remind you before we leave this particular point, as you read through the book of Jeremiah you will find that the king got so upset later that he had Jeremiah thrown in a well. It was a well with deep mud in the bottom of it and he sank down to his armpits. You just try to picture that if you will. They put him in there, evidently to die. Fortunately, through the providence of God, some who were his friends found out and they took rags and tied them together and dropped them down and Jeremiah tied them around under his arms and they were able to pull him out of that terrible well. What terrible treatment of the messenger of God that had been.

I read it quite often in reports that come across my desk. Missionaries are in many lands of the world today that are anti-Christian, anti-Bible, anti-God and the missionary, the spokesperson for God, may lose his life. Many times men, women, children, entire families, have their homes burned and destroyed because they are Christians. So things have not changed since the days of Jeremiah.

What do we have, then? The revelation of the Word of God. God spoke. He gave the message. The reaction to the Word of God was indifference, conviction by a very few, but an angry rejection by the king, the rejection not only of the Word, but of the messenger and the desire to destroy him.

But there is always good news. And that is the Renewal of the Word of God. We still have Jeremiah’s message. The very words God gave to Jeremiah that Baruch his secretary wrote down, we have them today. For after the king burned them, God acted again to renew those words. He gave those words again and Jeremiah gave them to Baruch who wrote them down the second time.   ‘Take thee again another roll and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned.’

When Moses came down from the mountain the first time and found the circumstances of how the people were living in sin at the bottom of the mountain, he was so angry that he broke the tablets on which the commandments were written. So what did God do? God carved out two more tablets with those commandments on them.

Today across America the courts have decided we cannot post those 10 Commandments in the places where they usually have been. But let me say to you they will never destroy them, for God will keep them going. Indeed, they are going around the world. They are the commandments by which God would have us live.

In this passage in Jeremiah, we have the renewal of the Word. Here is the divine assurance that God’s message is going to get out and man, though he may even destroy it, cannot prevent it from reaching those who need to hear.

Hear verses 30 to 32. ‘Therefore, thus saith Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim, king of Judah. He will have none to sit upon the throne of David and his dead body will be cast out in the days of the heat and in the night of the frost and I will punish him and his seed and his servant for their iniquity and I will bring upon him and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah all the evil I have pronounced against them. But they hearkened not. Then took Jeremiah another roll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah who wrote therein from the mount of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim the king of Judah had burned in the fire and they were added besides unto them many like words’.

God not only restored what had been burned, but he gave more to be written.

What is our conclusion to this today? God has spoken. He has spoken in his world. When we look at the universe, the stars, the planets, the sun, the moon, the seasons, the world that runs with such precision and we see in all of this that God has spoken.

But, likewise, he has spoken in his written Word, not just through Jeremiah, but through many other Old Testament writers and New Testament writers with whom we are very familiar. And yes the Bible tells us he has spoken in these latter days one more time through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God has spoken.

Here is the revelation of the Word. People react today like they did in Jeremiah’s day. They react in various ways. Some want to destroy it. Some want to disregard it. But, my friends, God has preserved it. It is as up to date today for us as it was for those three or four or 5000 years ago. And so we teach and understand this Word of God.

What happened 2000 years ago on Pentecost when the people recognized what they had done in the great sin of crucifying Jesus? They asked what they could do? The apostle Peter said, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’

My friends, that worked then, it works today. God’s plan is not changed. God’s blessings come through the same simple way of the gospel. It is my desire today that if you are a Christian you will live faithfully for the Lord and share the Word with others. If this is your time to hear the gospel, if this is your time to react to the Word of God, we pray that it will be a positive reaction and you will say yes to Jesus and come to him for salvation.

God bless you as you fight the battles of the days in which you are living.

 

Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Bohon, KY.




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